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Fresh Vintage Baby Names for Girls

March 13, 2016 Abby Sandel

By Abby Sandel

The best thing about vintage baby names is that there are always new ones to consider. Emma, Clara, and Alice were big in the 1890s, and all are in style in 2016, too.

Looking for baby names for girls that are equally vintage, but less common? Names like Dorothy, Ruth, and Marjorie were darlings of the 1920s, and are all on the upswing now, too – but all are outside of the Top 300.

Lately vintage baby names for girls have been in the news, with an appealing mix of relatively uncommon possibilities making headlines.

Let’s take a look at the antique appellations chosen by parents for their daughters in recent weeks, all vintage baby names for girls.

Frances Gotham co-stars Morena Baccarin and Ben McKenzie recently welcomed their first child together. Frances is an impeccable classic on the rise. Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love chose the name way back in 1992. Since then, Amanda Peet named her daughter FrancesFrankiePen, and Jimmy Fallon has a FrancesFrannyCole. It’s traditional, but feels fresh in 2016. As for Laiz, it’s a Portuguese name also spelled Lais, and it’s common in Baccarin’s native Brazil.

Lillie Lillie Mae Louise is the second daughter for country music’s Holly Williams and husband Chris Coleman. The family also includes big sister Stella June. Holly is a starbaby herself, the daughter of Hank Williams Jr. Lillie might look like a creative respelling of current favorite Lily, but that’s not so. Instead, Lillie was the more popular spelling in the nineteenth century, right through the 1920s. Credit goes to actress Lillie Langtry, who toured the US in the same years.

Louise – Let’s talk about Lillie Mae’s bonus middle, Louise. Lucy is huge, and Louisa re-entered the US Top 1000 in 2014. Is Louise next? It brings to mind iconic movie star Louise Brooks, a symbol of the jazz age. It fits well with tailored names for girls, like Alice and Frances, and even Top Ten favorite Charlotte. Looking for a name that is seldom heard, but instantly familiar? Louise could be the name for you!

Georgia – Actress Christine Lakin was born in Texas, but raised in Georgia. Her daughter’s name honors those Southern roots. Georgia is the first child for Christine and husband Brandon Breault. As for the new baby’s middle name? It’s James. That’s yet another high profile birth announcement featuring James as a middle name for a girl.

Rose – There’s Rosalind and Rosalie and Rosanna, too, but lately it’s the simple, botanical Rose that feels most stylish. Kate Winslet rose to stardom as Rose in 1997’s Titanic. For a while, Rose has been a go-to middle name choice. But lately the name has graduated from middle spot to the first, re-entering the US Top 200 for the first time since 1970. If you love Grace, but want something less popular, Rose belongs on your list. Names for Real has a Rose Elizabeth on her recent list of birth announcements.

KateSpeaking of Kate, it’s a nickname for traditional mainstays Katherine and Kathleen. In recent years, parents have embraced Katelyn (and Kaitlyn and Caitlyn). But just Kate feels spare and modern, a little bit like Rose, but maybe a little bit like Sloane and Wren, too. Names for Real recently spotted a Kate Ethel.

Calla Love Ella and Clara, but looking for something less common? Emily included Calla – as in calla lily – on her recent list of rare flower names. Calla also matches up with the Greek word for beauty, as in Calista and Calliope. It might sound like a modern discovery, but Calla ranked in the US Top 1000 back in the nineteenth century. It’s a great substitute for current favorites like Emma and Stella.

Beatrix Duana recently ran a birth announcement for a baby girl named Beatrix Sesame June – just the right amount of the unexpected and the traditional! The Italian Beatrice has been in the US Top 1000 nearly every year, and ranked as high as the Top 40 in the 1910s. Beatrix is almost exactly opposite – rarely in the Top 1000, and given to just 175 girls in 2014. But that appealing ‘x’ ending and Beatrix’s old school style could make this the more interesting vintage baby name for daughter.

Pearl Miriam – Have you heard about the Dunstan triplets? Chloe and Rohan Dunstan of Perth, Australia were already parents to sons Evan, Otto, and Felix when they welcomed triplets last summer. The three new additions were named Henry Magnus, Rufus Murphy, and Pearl Miriam. All of the names are vintage, but feel just right today. Simple and elegant Pearl has been in the US Top 1000 most years, and was a Top 100 favorite through the 1920s. It a vintage name that’s slowly gaining in favor again.

What are your favorite vintage names for girls?

About the author

Abby

Abby Sandel is nameberry's Senior Editor and resident Name Sage. Look for her baby name news round-ups every Monday, and her Name Sage columns on Wednesdays. Abby is the creator of the baby name blog Appellation Mountain and mom to Alex and Clio. For a chance to have your questions answered, contact Abby at namesage@nameberry.com.

View all of Abby's articles

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